Franchise 2016: Analysis

We are pleased to present the 14th edition of Who’s Who Legal: Franchise. Our latest research identifies 500 leading individuals from over 300 law firms across 73 countries.

No one model of law firm dominates our research and we include a wide range of international, local and boutique offerings in this edition. DLA Piper continues to lead our listings, combining its core strength in the US with a wide international network. Baker & McKenzie and Dentons are the closest contenders in terms of the size and strength of their global offerings.

US firms Gray Plant Mooty, Quarles & Brady, Nixon Peabody, Faegre Baker Daniels and Bryan Cave are at the cutting edge of developing franchise systems in the US and internationally. Plave Koch remains "the leading boutique for franchisors" in our research, while Dady & Gardner is held up as the best US franchisee boutique.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell and Osler Hoskin & Harcourt are two of the strongest names in the Canadian market for franchisors. Meanwhile, the highly regarded boutique Sotos is better known for its work with franchisees.

Fieldfisher, Bird & Bird and Noerr are among the leading firms in the European market and each boasts thought leaders in our research. Hamilton Pratt, SGP Rechtsanwälte and GM Avocats are among the top-tier local European outfits recognised.

Meanwhile, González Calvillo and Dannemann Siemsen Advogados are identified as two of the most prominent firms in Latin America.

The most highly regarded individuals in North America, Europe and the rest of the world are also recognised in this section.


Most Highly Regarded Individuals
North America
Larry Weinberg Cassels Brock & Blackwell, Toronto
Lee J Plave Plave Koch, Reston
Kenneth R Costello Bryan Cave, Los Angeles
Erik Wulff DLA Piper, Washington DC
Andrew Loewinger Nixon Peabody, Washington DC
Rochelle Spandorf Davis Wright Tremaine, Los Angeles
Rupert Barkoff Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, Atlanta
Jonathan Solish Bryan Cave, Santa Monica
Peter Snell Gowling WLG, Vancouver
Philip Zeidman DLA Piper, Washington DC
Mark Abell Bird & Bird, London
John Pratt Hamilton Pratt, Warwick
Marco Hero SGP Rechtsanwälte, Munich
Karsten Metzlaff Noerr, Berlin
Anders Fernlund Advokatfirman NOVA, Stockholm
Chris Wormald Fieldfisher, London
Anders Thylin Lindskog Malmström Advokatbyrå, Stockholm
Babette Märzheuser-Wood Dentons, London
Pascal Hollander Hanotiau & Van Den Berg, Brussels
Gilles Menguy GM Avocats, Paris
Rest Of The World
Penny Ward Baker & McKenzie, Sydney
Stephen Giles Norton Rose Fulbright, Melbourne
Derek Sutherland HWL Ebsworth, Brisbane
Sean O’Donnell HWL Ebsworth, Sydney
Jorge Mondragón González Calvillo, Mexico City
Srijoy Das Archer & Angel, New Delhi
Luiz Henrique O do Amaral Dannemann Siemsen Advogados, Rio De Janeiro
Tony Garrisson HWL Ebsworth, Melbourne
Philip Colman MST Lawyers, Melbourne
John Sier MST Lawyers, Melbourne

North America

North America remains one of franchise law’s most prolific jurisdictions. DLA Piper retains its place at the top of our North America listing thanks to its historically strong practice, containing several of the industry’s most revered practitioners, some of whom have been instrumental in the growth and progression of modern franchise law.

In the Washington, DC office, Philip Zeidman has counselled numerous US and foreign companies and is frequently retained on franchising development and regulation projects across the world. He is considered “one of the foremost practitioners in the field” and “effectively wrote the book” on franchising in the US. Erik Wulff has “a deep knowledge of franchising fundamentals” and has experience in brand expansion, including joint venture agreements. The “meticulous” Alexander Tuneski is well respected for a broad practice that includes domestic and international clients in both the transactional and regulatory fields. He is noted for “always looking at the finer details and leaving nothing to chance”.

The Chicago office sees the strongest bench. Stuart Hershman is “a highly commercially aware” practitioner who has vast experience in the implementation of franchise programmes, including restructuring existing programmes, and dealership and distribution law. Norman Leon is a “leading light” in the field of alternative dispute resolution for franchisors across the US at both state and federal level. One client describes Michael Brennan as “quite simply one of the best lawyers I have instructed”. Michael is the former chairman of the franchising committee of the International Bar Association and has experience in licensing and franchising matters internationally. Richard Morey is a “sharp-minded and considered” lawyer who has helped both established and start-up companies to structure franchise programmes.

The Reston office sees Bret Lowell listed for his “strong knowledge of franchise law across the board”; he has experience in numerous industries ranging from restaurants and the service industry to finance and technology. In Atlanta, Richard Greenstein is a transactions specialist who is noted for his “encyclopaedic knowledge” and “good manner, which clients enjoy”. 

Gray Plant Mooty demonstrates the rising fortunes of boutique franchise firms, particularly in the USA, with a raft of lawyers that competes in number with many of the international firms. In the Washington office, Carl Zwisler is “a stalwart of the practice who offers creative solutions”; he has represented franchisors, manufacturers and investors in the gamut of franchising legislation. He has also advised on distribution and acquisition agreements in the US and internationally. Robert Zisk focuses on franchising and commercial litigation where he is a “phenomenal operator”. He has represented franchisors in litigation with franchisees including class actions for over 20 years. Jan Gilbert has worked with franchisors and franchisees in all stages of their franchise programme and is “a go-to for deep and specific counsel about the franchise industry”.

The Minneapolis office sees Gaylen Knack listed for his “brilliant understanding” of the franchise industry and his reputation as “a real dealmaker”. He demonstrates a knowledge of domestic and international franchise distribution including trademark and online matters. Quentin Wittrock represents businesses in franchise disputes and is considered “formidable when resolving disputes”. Craig Miller has “wide experience” in trial and litigation scenarios and has represented clients on franchise issues and issues of complex business fraud.

Reston-based boutique Plave Koch sees eight listings. Lee Plave and David Koch left their respective international firms and set up their joint practice in 2007, and have gone from strength to strength ever since. Lee Plave demonstrates “a wealth of experience and understanding” and has a particular expertise in counselling on the application of technology to franchising, including social networking and social media issues. David Koch’s practice focuses on franchising, licensing and supply chain transactions. One peer calls him “one of our best and brightest lawyers working in franchise today”. Leslie Curran advises start-up, mid-market and mature franchises, and her “market knowledge is outstanding”.

Bryan Cave is a strong presence on the West Coast, boasting a number of high-calibre practitioners. In Los Angeles, Kenneth Costello is “a specialist in franchise structuring and compliance”, having represented clients on a range of issues including trademarks and e-commerce. Jonathan Solish is “a technical genius” in franchise and distribution matters including disputes. Glenn Plattner has experience in franchise issues including litigation matters, and has served as lead trial counsel in both state and federal court.

Minnesota-based boutique Dady & Gardner is another example of how boutiques are flourishing in the representation of both franchisors and franchisees. Co-founder Michael Dady is described as “one of the most knowledgeable and commercially minded franchisee lawyers currently operating”. Ronald Gardner Jr has advised franchisees and distributors in disputes in industries ranging from fast food, automobiles, trucking, construction equipment and agriculture. Clients have called him “one of the best advocates for franchisees in the country”. Scott  Korzenowski’s clients have included franchisees engaged in disputes with Dairy Queen, Subway and Pizza Hut, and he is distinguished for “a manner that clients feel comfortable with” and “an ability to consistently achieve positive resolutions of disputes”.

Nixon Peabody’s Washington, DC, office has a strong group of practitioners. Andrew Loewinger has wide experience of helping franchise clients to expand business operations around the world and has been engaged in franchise transaction in over 85 countries. One peers has called him “a driving force in franchise law”. Steven Feirman is “acutely aware of the latest issues in franchising” and also has experience in the intersection between franchise and competition issues. Completing the Washington office’s listings is Kendal Tyre, who has experience in drafting numerous commercial agreements and has advised franchisors on foreign and international business matters. He is “a formidable lawyer who knows his area”. In New York Craig Trachtenberg leads the global disputes team and is “an outstanding practitioner” in managing franchising disputes through litigation and arbitration.

Quarles & Brady demonstrates a strong showing with listings in offices in Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida and Washington, DC. Andrew  Beilfuss is the national chair of the franchise and distribution industry team and has expertise in franchise litigation, regulatory matters and contract drafting. He is “a well-known presence and clients love him”. John Dienelt is a “renowned” franchising litigator with over 30 years of trial and appellate experience. 

Baker & McKenzie’s franchise expertise is represented by the Dallas office. Michael Santa Maria is managing partner of the Dallas office and is recognised for his cross-border franchising practice. He is recommended for his “fine business sense” and “vast experience”. Will Woods is a “real star” who has represented franchisors at every point in their business cycle, with a particular expertise in hotels and hospitality franchise. Ann Hurwitz has advised franchisors on structuring and operation domestically and internationally and is described by one client as “dynamic and creative – she always provides tailored solutions”. Kevin Maher’s practice specialises in international brand expansion and he is “a brilliant mind on international licensing and distribution law”. 

Zarco Einhorn Salkowski & Brito sees four listings. Himanshu Patel’s practice concentrates on complex franchise litigation, arbitration and mediation. He is recommended as “a consummate professional in court proceedings” and has knowledge of franchise law relating to mergers and disclosure issues.

Rochelle Spandorf at Davis Wright Tremaine in Los Angeles has represented franchisors, manufacturers, licensors, suppliers, franchisees, and distributors in international expansion and strategic development. One of her peers says, “She knows how to get the best results for the clients,” while a client describes her as “an absolute pleasure to work with”.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s Rupert Barkoff in Atlanta is a “stalwart of the franchise scene” and is “a problem-solver” when it comes to the registration and structuring of franchises. He is founder of the Franchise Law Institute, which aims to study franchise law throughout the world.

The Richard L Rosen Law Firm sees founding partner Richard Rosen listed as “a true leader in the field”. He has a “great reputation among clients”, who have included franchisors and franchisees from companies possessing international operations.

Sotos is recognised as Canada’s foremost franchise law firm, assisting both franchisors and franchisees in all aspects of formation, operation and regulation across a multitude of industries. The Toronto office contains some of its leading franchise lawyers, and is said to be “the go-to team” for franchise issues. John Sotos, the firm’s founding partner, is known for his expertise in franchising corporate networks, as well as transactional matters and disputes relating to franchise. He is “one of the leading lights in franchise law in Canada”. Allan Dick is a “great litigator with a good approach” in relation to franchise disputes and has considerable experience in corporate and commercial disputes across the board. The “stellar” Peter Viitre demonstrates “acute commercial awareness and an understanding of business law that is hard to come by”.

Cassels Brock & Blackwell is another of Canada’s premier firms with four listings. Larry Weinberg is “a great mind in all aspects of franchising”, with experience in licensing, trademarks and the distribution of good and services, particularly in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Geoffrey Shaw is renowned for his abilities in resolving franchise disputes through trial, appeal, arbitration and mediation. He is considered to have “a really unique perspective that clients appreciate”.

Osler Hoskin & Harcourt’s Jennifer Dolman is once again featured as “one of the best practitioners of franchise law working in Canada today”. She has considerable experience defending clients in franchise disputes relating to breach of the duty of good faith and misrepresentation, and has knowledge of the gamut of franchise law. Dominic Mochrie is “very commercially minded” and has advised many franchisors on setting up programmes, including multinational franchisors with vast franchisee networks.

Gowling WLG offers another strong practice in Canada. Peter Snell in Vancouver scores highly in our listings, and is considered “invaluable” in advising and assisting on franchise expansion in Canada and internationally. He also has expertise in business and IP law relating to franchising matters, and is “a real strategist”. Debi Sutin in Hamilton is a “well-known and well-respected name” in franchise law and has advised franchisors across numerous industries from establishment to ongoing operation. 


While the US continues to be the powerhouse of franchise law, Europe’s firms have a strong showing in this year’s guide, with practitioners across the continent listed for their expertise. 

Fieldfisher fields a strong practice in its London office with five listings. Chris Wormald is highly recommended by his peers and is considered “a dean of franchise law”. He is joint head of the franchise group, where he specialises in all aspects of franchise law including alternative expansion options. He has also served as general counsel for McDonald’s EMEA. David Bond is “dynamic and extremely knowledgeable” in the field of brand management, and has vast experience in the promotion expansion of brands in multiple sectors. Andrew Dodd has experience in franchise litigation and disputes and has advised both franchisors and franchisees. His engagements have included disputes both foreign and domestic, particularly in the retail sector.

Bird & Bird once again demonstrates its strong and visible franchise practice with four practitioners listed this year in its London office. Mark Abell is global head of the firm’s franchising, licensing and multi-channel strategies team and advises on the development and expansion of brand strategies globally. He is described as “a true franchise specialist” who “is passionate about franchise and can provide solutions”. Graeme Payne gives advice on the best commercial strategies for market expansion. His practice focuses on retail, leisure, food and beverage, services and healthcare and he is described by clients as “excellent, with a keen understanding of business solutions”. Victoria Hobbs is “invaluable in disputes” and has experience resolving disputes relating to both franchisor and franchisee matters. Shelley Nadler is a “highly commercially aware” lawyer who specialises in the leisure and services sector advising both start-ups and mature businesses.

Noerr also performs well. In the Berlin office Karsten Metzlaff has expertise in franchise and distribution law; his experience includes establishing the international franchise system of a prominent German goods company. He is “a major player in European franchise law”.

At Dentons’ London office Babette Märzheuser-Wood is widely regarded as one of the sector’s leading practitioners. She leads the firm’s UKMEA team and is an expert in global franchise, distribution and agency. She is “a dynamic and thoroughly experienced” lawyer and has particular experience in master franchise agreements and the hotel industry.

DLA Piper’s London office is home to Iain Bowler. He has worked on commercial contracts, distribution issues and manufacturing agreements and “offers good strategic advice” and “is always good to have in your corner”.

Hamilton Pratt founder John Pratt sees himself highly recommended by both clients and peers for his “academic understanding of the franchise market” and his international experience in related issues. He has worked on franchise agreements in multiple jurisdictions and has also advised on competition issues and disputes with both franchisors and franchisees.

Crown Office Chambers’ Jason Evans-Tovey is recommended for his litigation experience in relation to franchise disputes. He has been an advocate in several of the English courts’ landmark franchise cases and is “a consummate advocate and sector expert”.

In Sweden, two practitioners come highly regarded in our research. Anders Thylin at Lindskog Malmström Advokatbyrå is “one of the foremost franchise lawyers in Sweden” and demonstrates “a serious expertise of commercial law related to franchise”. Anders Fernlund at Advokatfirman Nova has experience of franchising both in Sweden and internationally, and demonstrates “acute knowledge and strong work ethic” when assisting clients.

Marco Hero of SGP Rechtsanwälte is a “top-class franchise lawyer” who has assisted and defended national and international franchisors in transactions and disputes scenarios. He is also co-chair of the ICC task force on franchising, acting as part of a team that generates new directives to address the developments in the market.

Jordi Ruiz de Villa is a partner at Jausas in the Barcelona office, where he has advised and represented SMEs and international companies on litigation issues and disputes. He also has expertise in distribution and competition law and is described as “an outstanding lawyer”.

At Hanotiau & van den Berg, Pascal Hollander in the Brussels office “can break down complex issues and provide tailored solutions” for clients. He also has experience of trade practices and distribution disputes and has acted as arbitrator in domestic and international disputes of this nature.

Paris’ Gilles Menguy is the founder of franchise boutique GM Avocats and is revered for his practice, which includes drafting contracts, advising on growth strategies and brand standards and compliance.

Rest of the World

In Australia, HWL Ebsworth breaks into our list with three listed practitioners. Tony Garrisson in Melbourne “offers strong robust advice; he is polite and has a great demeanour" according to one client. He has experience with the structuring and restructuring, and sale and purchase of franchise programmes. Derek Sutherland in the Brisbane office has “an incredible market understanding and attention to detail” in his work representing franchisors, master franchisees and franchisees across the industry. He also has a strong knowledge of the Australian franchise code. The “commercial and practical” Sean O’Donnell in Sydney receives plaudits from clients for his knowledge of the franchise code and his expertise in dispute resolution issues relating to franchise.

Melbourne’s MST Lawyers sees three recommendations. John Sier is the firm’s founding principal and has expertise in distribution franchising, licensing and mergers. He is described as “dynamic and thorough” and also has knowledge of joint ventures and competition issues relating to franchising. Philip Colman is “a formidable negotiator” who has experience of both litigation and arbitration relating to franchising and trade practices. Raynia Theodore has acted for numerous well-known brands and retail chains and has advised on structuring and asset protection.

Baker & McKenzie sees another strong team in its Sydney office, including the Australian franchise practice head Penny Ward. According to one of her peers, she is “at the top of her game”, particularly in the sphere of TMT. She has advised local and international clients on franchise issues relating to Australian regulation and other jurisdictions.

Greg Hipwell at Maddocks is listed for his experience advising companies with international franchise networks on distribution of goods and services with particular emphasis on technology and IP. He is considered to be “a dynamic problem-solver with an impressive understanding of the franchise market”.

Stewart Germann is the founder of Stewart Germann Law Offices in Auckland and is recommended as “a veteran of franchise law” and “one of the best in New Zealand”. He has extensive experience in drafting franchise and master franchise agreements and was involved in the formation of the Franchise Association of New Zealand.

In Mexico, González Calvillo garners five nominations. One of Jorge Mondragón’s peers calls him “the best in the country”. As head of the firm’s franchising and distribution practice, he has expertise in Mexican franchising law and has provided advice to multinational corporations for over 20 years.

Stephen Giles heads Norton Rose Fulbright’s franchise team globally and is considered “the authority on franchise law in Australia”. Giles has advised on contracts and negotiation, regulatory issues and competition law, and has sat as national chairman of the Franchise Council of Australia legal and ethics committee.

Onyinyechi Iwuoha at AÉLEX has advised clients on franchise registration and IP matters, particularly in the fast food industry. She is described as “very commercially aware, with a good sense of the client’s needs”.

Jo Neser at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr has expertise in drafting franchise structures for local and international entities looking to enter the South African market. He also advises on transactions and is highlighted for his “outstanding commercial awareness”.

Archer & Angel sees Srijoy Das listed for his expertise in compliance and due diligence relating to franchising and his knowledge of corporate law. He is described as “absolutely the best” with “a great international network”.

The “go-to lawyer for franchise issues” at Dannemann Siemsen Advogados is Luiz Henrique O do Amaral. He has expertise in IP matters and has represented domestic and international clients in franchising and licensing issues.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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